Lee Randall, Assistant Editor (Magazines & Arts) of The Scotsman writes me of her encounter with Liberace. It's so well done I had to share it ....
Many years ago I "met" Liberace. For reasons that too many Vodka Gimlets have obscured in my memory, he was at the American Booksellers Association convention (ABA) back in the day, when I still worked in book publishing. We were knocking down our stalls and he was trotted around for hellos (again, no idea why).
Even though it was the end of a too-long day, he was elegance epitomised - wearing the most luscious pale suit with a magnificent crisp shirt and a wonderful tie (my memory's fixed these as greys and lilacs and pale blues); his hair was immaculate, his macquillage sublime (ie: there, but not TOO there), and he had one ring on each finger: a huge, perfect, round cabochon agate - again in those same colour ranges - set in gold. Not at all tacky, not at all Vegas, just old style celebrity like they didn't even make any more back then.
As I say, he was magnificent to behold, and he was the most gracious, most pleasant, most well mannered individual one could ever hope to encounter in this kind of "drive by" meeting. . .
So, that would have been late May 1986. By February he was dead. I was knocked sideways - he'd looked so healthy, so happy, so together at the convention. It was around that time that my own friends started dropping like flies, and I saw at close range how swiftly and inexorably Aids could move. Still, better that than the friends I watched linger while all quality of life eked away.
Duncan Fallowell recalls ...
I met him a couple of times at AD8, April's restaurant. Huge, sweet, like a scented polar bear raised on chocolate.